Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said Obama administration attorneys, who presented oral arguments Wednesday in an appeal of a judge’s ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, for the first time called the fine for noncompliance a tax. Bondi told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren this was the only way the federal government could regulate Obamacare.
“The lawyer for the federal government in court today said this is a tax —that was huge because of course under the commerce clause . . . the only way they would have an argument they could regulate this is if it was a tax,” Bondi said, adding the three-judge panel at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta was very prepared.
“They asked very educated questions — they asked a lot of questions about coercion — the federal government tried to argue about coercion,” she said. “The federal government tried to argue this was inducement telling people to purchase healthcare.
“And the legislation is very clear, saying [payment for noncompliance] is a penalty or fine — our president said it wasn't a tax,” Bondi said “And now the lawyers for the federal government today stood up and said it was a tax. The judges questioned him about that . . . it says that nowhere in the healthcare legislation.”
Florida District Judge Roger Vinson ruled in January the entire law “must be declared void” because its requirement to buy insurance is unconstitutional, but put the ruling on hold pending appeal. There are 26 states that are seeking Obamacare’s repeal.
No ruling is expected for months and legal experts expect an appeal to the Supreme Court, regardless of which side wins.
Van Susteren asked if Florida loses the appeal whether the state will try to go directly to the United States Supreme Court or have the entire court of appeals 11th circuit sit.
“Most likely we will try to go directly to the Supreme Court to expedite this,” Bondi said. “This is a case of national importance. We know the whole country is realizing — watching, and we realize that and we want to get there as soon as possible.”
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